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An extraordinarily beautiful dune landscape

Murlough National Nature Reserve is a fragile 6000 year old sand dune system owned by the National Trust and managed as Ireland’s first Nature Reserve since 1967.  It is an excellent area for walking and bird watching due to its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains.

There is a network of paths and boardwalks through the dunes, woodland and heath from where you will see an array of butterflies and wild flowers, as well as access to one of the finest beaches in Co. Down.

The dune fields at Murlough are the best and most extensive example of dune heath within Ireland with over 600 species of butterflies and moths, one of which, the Marsh Fritillary butterfly, is of European importance. The site is internationally important for wintering wildfowl and waders.

Spring at Murlough

The joy of spring © Gareth Wiltshire

The joy of spring

As the calendar attributes the start of spring with the equinox of March 21, wild Murlough reveals a transition of seasons as if embattled between the reluctant release of winter, giving way to lengthening days, a promise of release from the cold, hibernation to growth, a rebirth.

Upcoming events

  • Paths leading into Murlough Reserve © Zoe Dale

    Easter Hunt

    Come along for some Easter fun as you follow the clues on the trail over the sand dunes and beach...

  • Murlough National Nature Reserve beach clean © National Trust/Murlough

    Spring into action for a beach clean

    Come and help us give Murlough a spring clean, ready to start a new season.

  • null © National Trust/Murlough

    Spring walk

    Take a stroll with one of our knowledgeable rangers to discover the sights and sounds of Murlough...

Array of wildlife delights


The home of the marsh fritillary butterfly and an array of wildlife delights. Watch out for our day flying moths - the cinnabar and the six-spot burnet moth can be found in abundance.

Bring your camera and snap some shots of our many species of birds and butterflies.

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